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I've been testing the BP-3.5, & can confirm what was written on 6moons....

Although I had not read that review until now.

This unit contains a variety of technologies, some well-documented, some more on the fringe. But the results literally speak for themselves. Despite my well-prepared expectations, the benefits of this unit still surprise me a bit.

I was going to wait until I could take better measure of the unit to write about it, perhaps in comparison with some other brands, and perhaps in conjunction with some industry standard test methods. But, I will say that it does amazing things. I'm not prone to hyperbole. But...

I put the BP-3.5 in my system, and burn it in for a couple of days. I did this before trying to assess any differences. Then, I simply noticed what drew my attention. Details now take on musical and auditory meaning. Audiophiles often write "I heard details I had missed before," that this applies here. But it seems clear why this is so. Sure, I had heard parts of those sounds before; but now they appear with more of their subtle aspects intact, those aspects that trigger the illusion of it being a live sound. So, my nervous system snaps to attention. I take note of as a distinct, integral sound in space for the first time, even though I'd heard most of the component sounds before. You don't have to look for it; it grabs you.

It is more clear what instrument or playing technique resulted in a sound, as well as why it was placed there, musically. Some choices of arrangement or production, especially of dense material, make musical sense for the first time (try to untangle the LF instruments and samples used in Peter Gabriel's Up, an album which comes across muddy and dense on most systems). Mutters and mumbles from vocalists; noises in the middle of an orchestra; nearly-subliminal backing instruments... these jump out and alert the auditory system more as live sounds do. I am clearly hearing more of what went into the recording. Dozens of aspects come into focus and make sense in auditory and musical context. Not so much need to close your eyes. It's unmistakable.

Interestingly, the overall tonal balance of the system is not largely changed on first listen. It is the subtleties that have changed. Virtually all high-end virtues come alive, improved by the BP-3.5 in the system. A midbass fullness, presumed to be a characteristic of my tube amps, flattened out. Bass extension deepened. Same for a mid-treble peak, which smoothed out, revealing a more-extended yet more-subtle upper treble.

After a week, I received by mail a slightly longer AC cable for the unit, one that could reach my wall outlet without using an extension. (I had been using a 3-foot, 10-gauge extension for a week.) I also received another BPT power cable, this time for the Sony SCD-XA777ES SACD player. These changes brought further improvements, most noticeably in the bass. Like going from a tube amp to a solid state amp, the bass transients are now faster and more controlled. The sense of size and space in the lower frequencies is enhanced. Sharper attacks are heard from bass and drum. Bass notes and shudders seem to go right down to bedrock, instead of sounding as if on a resonant wooden stage.

This isn't one of those mods that simply sounds different, which some listeners declare "better," and others, "worse." The sound is clearly more true in virtually all respects. In a couple of cases where I felt the BP-3.5 was doing something undesirable to the sound, I later found it was simply a revealed flaw in the system, now unmasked (to use a psychoacoustics term).

Instrumental images are far more focused and better separated from each other. Most images are moved rearward, away from the speakers (distortion tends to draw images toward the speakers). Treble images are located as deeply as the lower frequencies from the same instruments, no longer thrust a bit forward. Harsh passages or instruments (like a hard cymbal hit) that seemd to be overloading something are now shown to be more true. Voice texture, as in Mark Knopfler's You and Your Friend (from On Every Street) is revealed to have a rich mix of natural smoothness and expressive growls, enough to make me laugh aloud.

I find myself playing the system at higher volume settings, because there is less of the stress that says "too loud." I didn't know my amps had that much headroom.

It is now easier to hear tweaks (feet, cables, VTA, etc) or problems (too much Caig left on a connector; lint on a stylus). Yet, the system is more forgiving. Objectionable harshness and muddiness is reduced, so everything sounds better.

This is the opposite of the common audiophile phrase "ruthlessly revealing." The BP-3.5 helps make all recordings sound more true... many recordings are better that I gave credit. (I have found that phrase "ruthlessly revealing" to be a "tell" of a bright or harsh component, one which the reviewer likes and thus excuses. Same for the term "fast." )

Recordings sound more different from each other, yet clearly closer to what went in the microphones. This is hard to prove or even express. Our highly-evolved nervous systems just "know" when a more realistic sound is presented... not to mention dozens of them at once.

The degree of improvements from the BP-3.5 is significant enough that you will have to rethink your upgrade priorities, if not your perceptions. You will change your conception of your system's virtues and vices. The improved purity and natural musicality of a CD or SACD front end, for example, may lead you to desire less euphonic filtering in downstream cables and amplification. You may choose more neutral cables. You may try again certain tubes, previously dismissed as a bit ruthless or even harsh. If triode mode sounded too boring before, you may now find that it sounds more true to the source, while ultralinear mode is shown to be a bit forward and artifically exciting. You will find yourself re-evaluating what your favorite recordings sound like. You will feel as if your listening skills have improved; it is like finally getting the right prescription of eye glasses.

SoundStage! Equipment Review - Balanced Power Technologies BP-2 Ultra Edition and BP-Jr. Balanced-Power Isolators (1/2002)
6moons audio reviews: BPT BP-3.5 Signature
bybee, Positive Feedback
b-p-t.com
BP-2 Ultra and BP-2.5 Ultra, Positive Feedback
Balanced Power BP2 review at Positive Feedback
6moons audio reviews: BPT BP-2+
BPT sounds as good as Equi=Tech
BPT 2 Signature sounded great
Head-Fi - Monster vs. BPT
Head-Fi - REVIEW: BPT (Balanced Power Technologies) BP-3 Balanced Power Isolator
BT2 review, hometheaterhifi.com
Head-Fi - First impressions of BP 3.5
BPT ULTRA ISOLATOR PRODUCTS


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